LOWER MAKEFIELD >> Brian Philip Derby Sr., who worked for the past 13 years as a handyman for the Lower Makefield Township Pars and Recreation Department, was remembered during the September 15th board of supervisors Zoom meeting.
Derby, a long time township resident, passed away on September 14 after a brave battle with Covid-19. He was 64.
“Brian always wanted everyone to have the best experience. He went out of his way. He was very thoughtful. And he always had ideas to make things better,” said Parks and Recreation Director Monica Tierney. “He was a very hard worker. And to be honest it’s very unrealistic that we’re saying goodbye,” she said.
Chairman Fred Weiss led the supervisors in a moment of silence as they remembered Derby and his family.
“I knew Brian in passing when I’d see him or when he’d come into the building and my impression of him is the same that I hear from everybody else - sweet guy, nice to everybody, wants to help anyone in the town that he can,” said township manager Kurt Ferguson.
“And in 2020, I don’t know if there’s a higher form of flattery you can pay to anybody more than that,” he said. “That’s the way I’m going to remember him. And I know that’s the way the guys and the staff will remember him.”
Township solicitor David Truelove, who has known Derby for more than 25 years, met him when his sons started playing baseball with the Pennsbury Athletic Association when Derby was serving as commissioner.
“Whether he was doing his public job, whether he was doing something else, he was always thinking about other people and he was very pleasant about it,” said Truelove. “I know kids who worked for the township and Brian was the guy they all enjoyed being around. That says a lot for a guy who’s 64 who can still get young people to enjoy your company.”
Derby also served as a pallbearer for Truelove’s father-in-law, former township supervisor Frank Fazzalore, who died in November 2019.
“He was a comforting presence at that time. I’m going to miss him,” said Truelove. “I really appreciated his presence in so many ways. He’ll be missed. And I really feel for his family given the circumstances.”
Derby was first and foremost the devoted husband of Paula Derby (Heljenek). They shared 38 years of marriage together.
A life-long resident of Bucks County, Derby was raised in Penndel and later graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Animal Science.
Derby worked as a dairy farmer in Lower Makefield for more than 20 years and greatly enjoyed the outdoors, working with his hands and especially loved working with the animals.
Beginning in 2007 and until his passing, Derby worked for the Parks and Recreation Department of Lower Makefield Township where he used his handyman skills.
Derby was also an active member of his community. Over the years, his endeavors included being a volunteer fireman and treasurer for the Penndel Fire Company, League Commissioner and Baseball Coach for the Pennsbury Athletic Association (PAA), and founding member of the Knights of Columbus at St. Ignatius Church.
He was a proud fourth degree Knight and participated in many charitable events along with co-organizing the annual golf outing. He also served on the McCaffrey Community Emergency Fund that provides relief and assistance to members of the local community in need.
Brian was an avid Penn State and Eagles football fan. And he eagerly looked forward to an exciting season every year.
In addition, he greatly enjoyed gardening, working on home projects, and spending time with his loving family. He was particularly thrilled to become a Grandfather and doted on his toddler grandsons.
He will be remembered for his generous, kind-hearted nature and his willingness to lend a helping hand.
Following a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Ignatius Church, Derby was laid to rest on Saturday, September 19 at Our Lady of Grace Cemetery.